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Certainly there’s been a lot of progress in the world since this novel was first published in 1985.
But, at the same time, I think many of us have a pressing awareness how the patriarchy will always try to control and regulate women’s bodies as well as suppress any voices which pose a threat to its power structures.
I will sometimes enthusiastically purchase long novels with the best intentions of reading them soon but nonetheless they’ll typically remain on my shelf for many years before I get to them.
But I was strongly tempted by the description of Lucy Ellmann’s monumental “Ducks, Newburyport” and its Booker Prize longlisting buzz got to me so I put it on my immediate reading list.
But reading it now I feel Moira’s pain more acutely: the deleterious effects she must have felt smothering her own values for the sake of living and the crushing hopelessness knowing an act of rebellion would be futile because it would only end with her own death.
So my reactions to reading this novel that first time were mainly centred on the way I personally related to its story.
She ruminates on a whole range of subjects from her personal past to her immediate family life caring for four children to local news to political divisions in America to global environmental concerns.
But this rereading also reminded me how richly imaginative and wild Atwood’s fiction can get.
I was also surprised how gripping I found it though I already knew the plot.
But that wasn’t the only way I connected with the story.
I related to it and understood the shroud of silence Offred must maintain in order to survive.